Report on ALChemE by IIChE

The event name ‘ALChemE’ is coined as an abbreviation for “Applied Learning in Chemical Engineering”, with conceptual learning as its primary objective. The theme for ALChemE 2019 was “Energy, Water and Environmental Sustainability towards a greener tomorrow”. 

For the Opening ceremony, the hosts welcomed the dignitaries- Dr. Hari Vasudevan (Principal), Mr. A.C. Daptadar (Vice Principal), Dr. Mrs. Alpana Mahapatra (HOD, Chemical Department), Mr. Pravin Saxena (the regional head of IIChE, MRC), Mr. Ravi Shroff (Executive Director, Excel Industries) and Prof. M M Sharma (FREng, Padma Vibhushan), on the dias.
Dr. Hari Vasudevan, the respected Principal, then welcomed the dignitaries in his motivating speech. He also wished the event a grand success and praised the HOD, Dr. Mrs. Alpana Mahapatra for her motivational support to the committee and her valuable contribution to the event. The next dignitary to address the attendees was Dr. Mrs. Alpana Mahapatra, HOD Chemical Department. She spoke about the history of ‘ALChemE’-ALChemE is framed on the prototype of the national event ‘ChemTech’. The next speaker on the dias was Mr. Ravi Shroff who spoke with a surge of nostalgia in his speech by enlightening the students about the growth in the Chemical Industry. Following Mr. Shroff, a welcoming address was delivered by Mr. Saxena, the head of IIChE MRC. He went on to inspire students by quoting “Energy resides in the heart and minds of people”. The Vice Principal’s address was about the importance of Chemistry and Environmental Sustainability in an individual’s life.The opening ceremony thus concluded after a vote of thanks
The first ChemE Talk witnessed an iconic speaker and the Chief Guest of the day, Prof. MM Sharma, a Padma Vibhushan and a Padma Bhushan awardee who has made unparalleled strides in the field of chemical engineering. He stated out the importance of Chemical Engineering in Solar Power. Pointing out the importance of Chemical Engineering in Wind Energy sector, he pivoted a point about the wings of a Wind Mill- Composites used to achieve a hundred metre length for the wings are manufactured using principles of Chemical Engineering.
He also established the relationship between Renewable Energy, Sustainability and Chemical Engineering by quoting examples like Lithium recovery from E-waste for Solar Panels, processes like distributed production and electrocatalytic processes for cleaner generation of electricity.
The second ChemE Talk saw Mr. Sriram Kulkarni, Director of TechnoChem group, address the students on the need of seawater desalination. He spoke about the various technologies that minimize cost and waste reduction. He also spoke about how reverse osmosis is used for sewage water treatment as an alternative for steam and the importance of pre-treatments used to dissolve impurities that cause scaling and fouling. One of his main ideas was to encourage students to develop processes which are cheaper and sustainable and concluded his talk with equipment design.
The participants and the dignitaries broke for lunch and reconvened for further events.
Post-lunch saw third year and second year students attend a hands-on workshop by the company ‘Pure Water’ on Reverse Osmosis system software called ‘Winflows’. It started off with the trainer explaining various characteristics such as turbidity, conductivity, total dissolved solids and temperature to name a few. The results were shown once the student entered feed, flow and membrane specifications. It brought advanced RO simulation to a whole new level with membrane system design at its forefront.
The technical debate was held in three rounds consisting of an eliminator, followed by the semifinal round and the final round. The first round saw twelve teams debating against each other allowing only four teams to proceed based on the points earned. In the semi-final round, the topics for two teams was based on the relevance of the Paris Agreement while the other team debated on permissibility of fracking. Preparation time given was twenty minutes.
Based on points, the top two teams proceeded to the final round. The teams debated whether chemical industries can be run independent of non-renewable resources and were given a preparation time of twenty minutes. The event allowed students to become aware of current affairs in the field of chemical engineering with an eye on industrial problems to be overcome as budding chemical engineers.
Day one concluded with the first of the FE events, Chem-E-Troops. The game of Chem-E-troops was modeled on the old classic ‘Battleship’. The playing members were divided into two teams, the Red team and the Blue team. The team members participating in Chem-E-troops were required to answer a certain number of questions to secure equal number of blocks on the marked matrix. The blocks on the matrix were then arranged to make ‘ships’, where the maximum allowable length of a ship was four blocks. Once the ships for oppositions were plotted on the matrix, each team received alternate chances to take a guess and ‘hit’ the opposition’s ships. The team which was able to ‘sink’ all the opposition’s ships by guessing all the blocks before the opposition does so, was declared the winner.

The second day of the event opened with an excitement doubling the first.
The day saw events like Chemibition, Internship Fair, Technical Paper Presentation, Poster Presentation and Industry Defined Problems.

Chemibition saw students present their projects and working models to experts from the industry. It offered a great platform for the students to showcase the practical application of their concepts. Some of the projects that were presented included ‘Generation of electricity from sea waves’, ‘Chemiboat’, ‘Self Combusting Magnetic Separator’.

Internship Fair had students flocking in great numbers. The students got a unique opportunity to interact with various companies and applied for an internship across multiple establishments under one roof. Students were asked questions ranging from their curriculum to their personal skills. The fair offered both, technical and non-technical internships to the students.

Technical Paper Presentation required the participants to present research, review or experimental papers to the judges. The papers were put forward with extreme clarity. Felicitations were held for two categories: Undergraduates and PhD. pursuing students.

Poster Presentation involved students presenting their technical posters to the judges. The judges, Mr. Nitin Mukaddam, Chief Manager at RCF, and Professor Dr. Ajitkumar Gudekar, put forward some basic questions to the students based on which they were assessed. 

Industry-defined problems saw participants present possible solutions to an industrial problem statement. Problems involved designing a scrubber for making 20% ammonia solution from ammonium chloride solution with certain feed specifications and recovery of various chemicals from runoff streams with minimum utility consumption. Participants ranged from PhD pursuing students to undergraduates presenting a thesis and a presentation to the judge in a time window of ten minutes followed by a questioning round. 

Second of the FE events, Pictureka, also saw students participating in large numbers. The enthusiasm grew with time as the first round began with two teams consisting of two players each. One team at a time got a chance to roll the dice with three colors. Each team picked a card of the color on the dice and had to complete a task mentioned on it. If the task is completed in allotted time, the team gets to keep the card. Team with the highest number of cards in possession at the end of five turns won. Round two acted as the eliminator where out of all the qualified teams from the first round had to face rapid fire questions. Four teams qualified for the semi-finals and final round which had similar rules as the first round.
The closing ceremony began with summary of the day’s events and a few words by dignitaries on dias : Principal sir, Dr. Hari Vasudevan, Vice Principal sir, Dr. Ashish Daptadar, Chief Manager at RCF, Mr. Nitin Mukaddam sir and our supportive HOD, Dr. Alpana Mahapatra madam.

Principal and Vice Principal sir spoke about the success of the event, how the theme was of utmost importance to imbue values in the budding chemical engineers and congratulated the committee on the smooth flow of the event.
This was followed by a vote of thanks by Chairperson of the Student Chapter of IIChE, Naren Diwadkar and felicitation of the winners of all events.

-Malhar Hathi